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Article

A Survey among Dog and Cat Owners on Pet Food Storage and Preservation in the Households

Department of Animal Medicine, Production and Health, University of Padua, Viale dell’Università 16, 35020 Legnaro, Italy
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Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Giacomo Biagi
Animals 2021, 11(2), 273; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11020273
Received: 30 December 2020 / Revised: 18 January 2021 / Accepted: 19 January 2021 / Published: 21 January 2021
Proper dog and cat food preservation is fundamental to ensure the best quality of the diet right up to the moment of feeding, given that nutritional value, safety and sensory properties can be irreparably damaged by environment and time. To this end, a survey was conducted to explore how pet owners store both commercial and home-prepared diets. On the whole, despite the wide variability of practices adopted, most of the 2221 respondents implemented good storage management. Room temperature was the most overlooked parameter during storage, and this may be a cause of concern because exposure to warmth can enhance rancidity, especially in diet formulations rich in fats and oils. For this reason, veterinarians should provide precise instructions on storing perishable ingredients to those who feed home-prepared diets. Moreover, respondents of older generations appeared to distrust the use of preservatives in commercial pet foods and often deemed their inclusion harmful and unnecessary. Pet food manufacturers should discourage skepticism of the additives crucial to long-term commercial pet food conservation through better communication.
Background: Pet food storage plays a crucial role in maintaining the nutritional and sensory properties of purchased products over time. Methods: An online survey was developed to collect data regarding owners’ storage habits for both commercial and home-made diets. Results: The questionnaire was completed by 1545 dog owners and 676 cat owners. Pet and owner age played roles in the choice of the type of diet (commercial vs. home-cooked vs. raw meat-based) adopted. Kibble feeders (75.7%) usually bought one (50.1%) or two (24.6%) packages at a time, and most pets (64.4%) took a minimum four weeks to consume an entire bag. Almost half of the owners (43.5%) used a container to store pet food (plastic bins for 79.5%). Pet food was commonly stored in the kitchen (45.1%) and not exposed to direct light (94.5%); 23.6% of the kibble feeders said it might be exposed to high temperatures. Most commercial pet food feeders (67.3%) considered preservatives a potential health risk for pets. Among homemade diet feeders, 38.6% stored fish oil at room temperature. Conclusions: Pet owners should be educated in proper food storage management when receiving feeding instructions from veterinarians. More comprehensive information on the nature and importance of additives in pet food should be promoted by manufacturers. View Full-Text
Keywords: dog; cat; pet food; storage; survey dog; cat; pet food; storage; survey
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MDPI and ACS Style

Morelli, G.; Stefanutti, D.; Ricci, R. A Survey among Dog and Cat Owners on Pet Food Storage and Preservation in the Households. Animals 2021, 11, 273. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11020273

AMA Style

Morelli G, Stefanutti D, Ricci R. A Survey among Dog and Cat Owners on Pet Food Storage and Preservation in the Households. Animals. 2021; 11(2):273. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11020273

Chicago/Turabian Style

Morelli, Giada, Davide Stefanutti, and Rebecca Ricci. 2021. "A Survey among Dog and Cat Owners on Pet Food Storage and Preservation in the Households" Animals 11, no. 2: 273. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11020273

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